Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Various Fruits and the ISP

Yesterday and today were our first two full days of classes. We had lots of discussions about our homestays: what they were like, what people did with their families, the strategy of bathing with a basin, etc. We also had Zulu lessons both mornings. I really enjoy learning Zulu, and I'm slowly improving on my clicks, but I feel that there's so much that they teach us every day! Yesterday, we learned the Body Song, which is a Zulu version of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Today we learned about different noun classes because different words have different prefixes depending on the type of word they are or how they are spelled. It's all pretty complicated.

We also began more intense lectures of our Reconciliation and Development seminar. Yesterday, John, our Academic Director taught us about historiography and how history is different depending on who tells it, and we discussed the different historical views of South Africa. Today we talked about the ANC and it's major accomplishments and the things that it still really needs to work on. Our discussion many discussed the AIDS pandemic, education, and the unemployment crisis. South Africa is still kinda messed up, but it is significantly better than it was in 1994, and the ANC did a pretty remarkable job by keeping the country a single state.

Yesterday when I got home from school (I feel like a little kid because I get picked up and dropped off by a school bus every day and I have to be home by about 9:30) I sat with my mam and my sisi and we had a discussion about different kinds of fruit, and they just started listing all of the fruit that they knew of to see if I had ever heard of it. I knew the majority of them, but there were some that I didn't know at first because we call them different things. They considered sweet potatoes a fruit, and called them something else. It was pretty fun. They also asked me about foods that we eat in Kentucky, so I tried to think of special Kentucky foods like bourbon balls and hot browns. I don't know if I correctly described what a hot brown was to them, but they thought it sounded good. I realize now that I should have told them about Grits. I guess I still can.

Today, I sort of had an epiphany about what I want to do for my Independent Study Project (ISP). I had originally gone into the program thinking that I wanted to do something about the politicization of AIDS because I did a paper on it last semester for one of my classes, but I started thinking that maybe I should do something different and learn something new. So I started thinking about the World Cup, and how it's already influencing South Africa by creating jobs for building new stadiums, and giving incentives for cities to clean up and reduce crime. Durban is already working on ways to improve their safety by creating a new bus system called People Movers that has security guards at every stop, and provides people with really inexpensive and safe transportation. So I thought it would be really cool to do an ISP about how the World Cup is affecting the South African government and the socio-economic status its people. I'm pretty excited and John said he thought it would be a great idea. Yay me! Well, it's almost time to head back to Cato Manor for the day, so I think I'll try to get some reading in before I go. Sala kahle! (that means goodbye or "stay well" in Zulu)

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